“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up, it knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.”― Christopher McDougall, Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen
I was writing a 1000-word blog on the above insightful statement from the book ‘Born To Run’. It was a summary of my understanding and extrapolation towards our career achievement through significance of ‘running’, both in its literal and metaphorical sense.
- Running from ‘Inertia’
- Running from ‘Averages’
- Running for ‘Dominance’
- Running from ‘Getting Killed’.
Four headings around which the article was designed. Unfortunately, though I consider it now as fortunately, manuscript draft got accidently deleted from the only space where I saved it. Something you wrote for hours, did research and heavy thinking, all gone in fraction of seconds! Heartbroken! I was explaining the scenario to my wife, Faiza. As with many accounts of life, I seek her soothing inspiration and motivation for such or even bigger loses. She never disappointed. This occasion too, I observed her deep insight and understanding on the above statement from the Christopher’s book. In fact, she already had a session in our children’s school, where the headmaster was explaining same statement for a different context. After this session, she also gave her fair share of thoughts on the topic. Now she elaborated that for me. A different spin to the lion-gazelle story!
She is a genius, once again proved!
Let me share what she explained to me.
As she pondered through her comprehension, it’s about two mindsets.
Biologically, gazelle is built to run faster than any lion. If it runs fearlessly, giving its full might, with one single objective of getting ahead and away from its predators, no one lion born yet can reach, or beat or kill it. That is the theory, this is the fact. But reality is little different. Here, gazelle is running for its life, and checking out frequently if any lion has reached near to it. Running out of fear and lesser confidence of its abilities to outrun the lion. Automatically, gazelle running speed comes down and gets close to that of lion. This is because gazelle constantly and unconsciously compares its speed with that of lion. Human psychology too teaches us, when we compare ourselves frequently with someone else, chances are, we also become them, gradually. Let it be for good or bad. Coming back to the African grounds where gazelles are being chased by lions; many thoughts make gazelles distracted. Beyond concentrating on a single goal, ‘Run faster and get away from the danger’, the gazelle brain thinks, ‘Am I getting killed by the lion this time, am I closer’. The gazelle gets slower, and the faster lion gets the feast.
Lion is aware of its limitations and strengths. Lion knows it cannot outrun a gazelle. This is the fact, biologically it is not designed to. Lion also know for it to have the gazelle on the dining table to enjoy with its spouse and kids, it must somehow reach up to the gazelle speed. For the lion, where biology loses, psychology wins. Lion realizes, more than running faster it must run smarter. If it cannot run faster, it can try to make the gazelle run slower. Moreover, for the lion, there is a target. It must hike up to the speed of gazelle, not less, not more. Lion can use its terrorizing figure and thundering roar to inject fear in the mind of a gazelle. If lion can win the mind of gazelle in this race, it can win the race, and it can have the feast.
So, the race between the two animal species is, perhaps, a race of mind and mindset.
Faiza didn’t stop there, she gave a beautiful message before leaving the topic:
‘If you want to win the race of life, you need to have the right mindset. You will be having many talents and skill sets under your sleeve, but only your confidence and your fearlessness will take you to next level of your life.’
I was speechless.